Pivot Charter School San Diego is a public school that is free for students to attend. As a public charter school, the school receives funds for educating students based upon their enrollment in our school, just like funding for traditional public schools.
Charter schools must be authorized by a government authority with educational responsibilities. In California, that could be a school district, a county board of education or the state board of education. The chartering process involves the school submitting a charter petition to an agency who can authorize the charter. The charter outlines the governance, mission, financials and operational plan of the charter school so as to provide the authorizing agency an understanding of how the school will be successful in educating students. When the authorization is being sought with a school district or county board of education, the elected representatives of that entity (such as a school board) will vote on the authorization for the charter school. The charter authorization must then be renewed every few years.
CHANGES TO THE LAW:
Since 1999, the California Department of Education (CDE) has provided statewide guidance and input on the Education Code section that addresses where an independent study or non-classroom based charter school’s resource center(s) / campuses can be located (if you would like copies of memos from CDE regarding this, please feel free to contact the school). Pivot Charter Schools and over 150 other charter schools have been closely following that advice for many years. Recently, some school districts decided to sue charter schools and other school districts whose independent study charter schools had resource centers outside of their own geographic boundaries. While the CDE’s interpretation held at the lower court level; on appeal, the court ruled that a charter school can only operate a resource center within its authorizing district’s boundaries. For more information on the Shasta v Anderson court ruling that is forcing these changes, see http://www.ccsa.org/2017/05/anderson-usd-v-shasta-secondary-home-school-case-overview.html.
Pivot Charter School San Diego is authorized by Mountain Empire Unified School District (MEUSD). However, the resource center is located within the boundaries of the San Marcos Unified School District (SMUSD). We will be submitting a new charter school petition to SMUSD in the coming months in order to be compliant with the new ruling. To learn more about the District, visit their website at https://www.smusd.org
THE CHARTERING PROCESS:
For the 2017-2018 school year, we are still operating under our Mountain Empire Unified Charter. Pivot will soon submit our charter petition and related documents to SMUSD. District staff, and usually legal counsel, review the charter petition. Within about thirty days from submission, the SMUSD School Board will hold a public hearing in order to determine the local level of interest in the community for the charter school. After that Board meeting, again, within 30 days or so, the Board will vote to support or oppose a charter for Pivot in the San Marcos Unified School District. If a majority of the School Board votes against the charter, then Pivot can appeal the decision to the San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE). To learn more about San Diego County Office of Education visit http://www.sdcoe.net/Pages/Home.aspx.
Finally, if the San Diego County Office of Education denies the charter application, then the school can appeal to the State Board of Education (http://www.cde.ca.gov/be/).
In a worst case scenario, if the charter is denied at all levels then the school will have to stop operating. We are clearly working very hard to ensure that the San Diego resource center has its own charter.
The chartering process can raise lots of questions, and we have assembled this page of information to help answer those questions.
What can I do as a parent or guardian of a student at Pivot Charter school if I have feedback on whether the school should continue operating?
Voices in the community, particularly those of parents and students, are critical to the public hearing process of a charter application process. Even if you or your child is from outside SMUSD, it is important that elected leaders and District staff are aware of your sentiments and perspective. The hearing process will allow for parents and students to speak at a public meeting of the SMUSD as mentioned above. Speakers will be allowed 3 minutes each to offer comments to the SMUSD School Board. You can also submit letters of support to the School Board prior to the hearing. Or, as elected officials, School Board members even take phone calls and emails from constituents. You can also do all of the above. Let your voices be heard!
Why would SMUSD approve our charter?
Because we fill a niche in the community that is not currently filled by the traditional schools. Pivot provides educational choice for the students who need it, and we have a good track record with those students. We also have a responsible board of directors who ensures that we operate in a fiscally sound and responsible manner. We have been part of the Santa Rosa community since 2010, and we would like to continue to serve the students in that community.
Why would SMUSD deny our charter?
Because charter schools are still controversial. There has been some bad press about charter schools lately, and people are scared of what they don’t understand. We are hopeful that SMUSD will see the incredible value of our small, supportive learning environment and don’t see us as a threat. If SMUSD does not approve our charter, we will appeal to San Diego County Office of Education, who has a strong reputation of being open minded, student-centered as well as highly accountable.
Why would SDCOE approve our charter?
Because Pivot is a fiscally responsible, well-established, responsibly run charter school. We have been in operation since 2010 and have four resource centers located throughout the state. Our board of directors has widely-varied experience that is pertinent to running an organization in a financially responsible manner (city managers, school superintendents, financial services executives), and our Executive Director has 30+ years of education experience. We serve students who are not served by traditional public schools with great success.
Why would SDCOE deny our charter?
If SDCOE felt that Pivot was not responsibly run, fiscally sound, or providing a quality education to the students we serve, they could choose to deny our charter.
What exactly is a charter school and how is it different from traditional public schools?
Charter schools are public schools just like your traditional neighborhood school, so they are tuition-free and available to all students. Charter schools offer a choice in education when traditional public school isn’t working. For many kids, the structure of a full classroom with a single teacher is not the best way to learn. Charter schools offer alternatives, whether it be an online curriculum, smaller class size, one-on-one attention and/or an accelerated learning path.
Pivot offers all of those alternatives. Our curriculum is online, which is ideal for students who need to work at their own pace or access classes from different locations. Online lessons enable students who want to accelerate their education or help other students who have fallen behind and need to catch up. In addition, we offer a safe environment at our resource centers, where students can get one-on-one or small group help from our enthusiastic teachers. The onsite flexibility is a great option for kids who don’t feel safe in a traditional public school, either due to bullying or because they just don’t fit in.
Because Pivot is a charter school we are open to all, are tuition-free, and we receive funding for every student who enrolls. As a result, we are committed to providing the best quality education for our students. We hire top-notch, credentialed teachers who care, ensure that our curriculum is thorough and cutting-edge, and provide numerous opportunities for our students. We work hard to educate your children because we are competing for their enrollment. Every child who walks through our door means additional funding for our school, and thus, a better education for every student.
What are our next steps?
We are submitting our charter to SMUSD in late August or early September. There will be a 30- day review period following our submittal. After that, the board will meet to discuss the charter. There will then be a public hearing where board members will listen to public comment about Pivot and we have the opportunity to answer any questions about our school.
How can you help?
Obtaining a charter is a public process and as such, public input is important. We welcome attendance at the public hearings so that you can share your opinions about Pivot Charter School. We will regularly post updates to this page and to our Facebook page to let you know when the public hearing is being held. And you can ask questions about the process at any time. You can contact our Executive Director, Jayna Gaskell at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions you have.
A Message From the Executive Director:
Dear Pivot San Diego Families,
Victory for our charter renewal efforts has arrived. Last night, the San Marcos Unified School District (SMUSD) voted to grant a charter to Pivot. The approval is a major milestone in the advancement of our resource center in San Marcos.
The over 100 parents and students that showed up for the two meetings made a major impact on the Board. It clearly communicated to them that Pivot has passionate parents and students who love their school and the impact it is having on their lives. Our efforts were also benefited by working with a school district who was clearly willing to listen, understand who we are as a school and community and seek a way to be a partner. Not all charter schools are so fortunate, and I am deeply appreciative of the SMUSD Staff and Board Members for their interest and involvement in the charter review process.
The process of getting a charter is crazy, confusing, frustrating and exciting. It creates a rollercoaster ride for students, parents, teachers and our board. I am sure you have been through various emotions throughout this process, I certainly have. Yet, I am so immensely proud of each of you. Your passion to show up in a civic process and express yourself is admirable. Those acts of civic engagement and courage are just awesome to witness and great lessons for our students. Seeing our students engaged and passionate about Pivot feeds the souls of our teachers and staff to help our students to succeed. It is why we do what we do.
If you have any questions about the outcome of our charter efforts for Pivot San Diego, please use the contact information below to reach myself, Craig Hobart or Liz Jones.
The entire team at Pivot is looking forward to our new partnership with San Marcos Unified School District. We have every reason to think this is the start of something even bigger for our school and the long-term role we can play in the community helping students and families who need something a little different.
Thank you for your involvement, passion and trust.
Pivot Charter Schools
Chief Business Officers
The meeting where the SMUSD board will vote on our charter is scheduled for Tuesday, November 14th at 6:30 pm. It will be held at the Media Center of the North County Regional Education Center located at 255 Pico Avenue in the city of San Marcos. It is very, very important that we have families in attendance to show continued support for Pivot! We expect the board to ask some follow-up questions about our program, and as you saw from the meeting on 10/17, they were so impressed to see families in attendance. Please come out and help support our school!
Pivot Charter School San Diego has asked the San Marcos Unified School District (SMUSD) to authorize our charter. The SMUSD board members will be reviewing the charter and opening the floor for public comment at their next board meeting on October 17th at 6:30 pm. This is a wonderful opportunity for a civics lesson – the students can learn about the public hearing process and see a local governing board in action!
It is VERY, VERY important to the future of our school that we have as many parents/guardians, grandparents, sisters, brothers, students and friends of Pivot San Diego attend this public hearing and show their support.
Upon arrival at the meeting, there will be blue cards available to anyone who wishes to speak on behalf of Pivot. If you fill out a blue card, you will be allowed three minutes during public comment to voice your support for our school. Even if public speaking isn’t your thing, please consider saying something positive about Pivot. This is a great chance to tell SMUSD how awesome our school is and the amazing things we are doing for our families!
The meeting will be held at 6:30 pm in the Media Center of the North County Regional Education Center located at 255 Pico Avenue in the city of San Marcos.
- Gathering Time: If you would prefer to travel as a group, we will meet at 5:30 PM at Pivot San Diego Resource Center located at 1030 La Bonita Drive, Suite 100 in San Marcos. We will have vans/personal cars to take anyone who needs a ride to the meeting. Field trip permission forms will be distributed and will need to be returned for students traveling without their parents. Alternatively, you may join us at the Board meeting at 6:15 pm. Please be prompt. We will leave the school site at 6 pm to head to the meeting. If you plan to join us at the resource center, please RSVP to Adrian Heredia, our Site Coordinator at: AHeredia@pivotcharter.org or call 1-760-591-0217.
- T-Shirts: To show our support, we will hand out Pivot T-shirts to wear to the meeting so the Board sees who we are. If you already have a Pivot T-shirt, please wear it. If you need one and are planning to join us at SMUSD, please come to the resource center to get your T-shirt in advance. If you are gathering at the resource center before the meeting, we will be handing out T-shirts there.
- Pizza: We will also serve pizza at the school at 5:00. Please RSVP so that we have an accurate count for ordering food.
- Community Service: Since this is so important to our Pivot community, we will also offer our high school students 4 hours toward their community service requirements.
Please bring any and everyone you know that supports Pivot! Thank you!!!